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From Insecurity to Acceptance: How My Husband Learned to Support My Natural Hair Journey

Avatar • Jul 25, 2013

bigchop

Yesterday Dr. Corey Guyton shared how insecurity and cultural expectations almost prevented him from supporting his wife’s natural hair journey. In this piece, Corey’s wife Chutney shares her point of view.

By Dr. Chutney Guyton of The Genuine Scholar

Initially, I was not sure if I should respond at all to my husband’s article on our “natural journey” and why he did not want me to be natural, but I will admit that it has been quite fun to watch it explode onto the social media scene. I didn’t even know he had planned to write on this topic, but as I have watched other women share not only the article, but their stories of returning to and being natural, I have felt even more empowered as a Black woman, yet saddened at the same time. I have felt empowered by the large number of Black women standing true to their decision to return to the way God made them, but saddened to hear that so many Black men (and women as well) are still blinded by their own insecurities and the influence of the media’s obsession with mainstream ideas of beauty based on the physical features of Whites. It is clear that Corey’s experience(s) have resonated with many people, and as his wife, words cannot express how grateful and appreciative I am for all the support you have shown him and his choice to make himself vulnerable by expressing his former and reformed views on natural hair. I am so very proud of him for his courage to share his story in an attempt to help others through his own experiences.

One thing I eventually learned about my transition process was that the transition was not mine alone, but my husband’s as well. What I mean is that by the time I went to Corey with my thoughts on returning to my natural roots, I had already mentally and psychologically prepared myself for the journey. All that was left was my physical transition. I had done my research, talked to other women, and thought through the effects (good and/or bad) in my head already. In other words, my mind was made up. So when I presented my decision to Corey, it wasn’t for his permission as much as it was for his support as the man that I loved and that I knew loved me.

But in order to be fair, I knew that I would have to meet him where he was—which at that time and by his own admission, was blinded and ignorant. A lot of the work had to be done by Corey, hence the introspection he talked about in his article. However, knowing how big of a change this would be for him (because it was going to be for me as well), I felt it was important that I help him to understand WHY this change was so important for me. We talked often and at length about what led me to return to being natural, and I immediately began sending Corey all sorts of articles, videos, websites, and more on the natural journey, images of women with natural styles, and ways in which he could support me throughout the process.

It didn’t happen overnight, but he eventually came around. I had to understand that while I had already gone through my own process of taking off the blinders—it took me over 20 years to become comfortable with being natural—and wading through my own ignorance, my sweet husband had just begun his. And I needed to be a little patient. That patience paid off big time because once Corey’s eyes were opened—they were TOTALLY opened. He even gave me a few natural T‑shirts to celebrate my new look soon after my big chop nearly four years ago!

Since Corey’s own transition, he has become one of the biggest advocates I know for ALL natural women and the concept of them growing to love and accept themselves, particularly in terms of their hair, the way God made them. In fact, when I came to him about my decision to cut my hair completely off for the second time a few weeks ago, his response was a simple, “Okay”. I found out later that he was not even sure why I felt the need to consult him in the first place!

At no point did I ever feel that Corey did not love me, but I was aware that he was ignorant when it came to a Black woman’s identity as it relates to her hair. So for the sistas out there who are struggling to get a man’s support of your natural journey, stand firm in YOUR decision, but give him an opportunity to remove the blinders. Education is the key to breaking free of oppression, so encourage him to become more educated about the topic. Those men who truly love us for who we are and what we represent as strong, beautiful Black women will wise up and those who do not will fade away. Stay strong sistas!

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[…] *UPDATE* Corey’s wife, Chutney, has responded to this piece. Be sure to check it out here. […]

Tonia
Tonia
7 years ago

Yaass! Your journey with yourself and hubby sounded like what I went through with my hubby when I was transitioning. He wasn’t 100% behind my decsion but we talked and discussed my reasons for needing my hair to be natural. In the end he was the one to cut my relaxed ends. 2.5 years later he’s pointing out hairstyles he thinks I might like. Both black men and women grow up under the same negative images of natural hair. If it takes us as women time to fully appreciate the beauty of oue hair, then perhaps we should be patient… Read more »

Vonnie
Vonnie
7 years ago

I enjoyed both you and your husband’s articles. Pay no attention to any perspective naysayers.

lauryn
lauryn
7 years ago

Thank you for following up — I loved both your op-ed and your husband’s. As a new natural (7 mo), I truly understand that it can be hard to wrap your head around feeling beautiful with this “new” hair, even when you’re the one who made the decision to chop it off! So I can only imagine how hard it would be for someone who would be impacted by the decision, but have no say-so in the matter. Kudos to the two of you! I’m still working on self-love, but I realize it has less to do with being ashamed… Read more »

LuvChicago
LuvChicago
7 years ago

With the introduction of each commentary and Dr.Corey Guyton’s book, it is a spectacular way to start this dialogue in the black community.

I love ‘black love’…sigh 🙂

It is time to teach ourselves to love ourselves (black men & women) and restore what was taken from us.…pure identity.

Gena
Gena
7 years ago

I am glad that many black women are loving who they are, to me this is not simply a natural hair movement , but a movement of confidence in which black women are valuing their beauty on a higher level and learning to take care of the hair that is naturally theirs. The one thing that continues to upset me is that many people continue to brand straight black hair as a prefrece to “being white”. This is simply not true, when my hair was straight I never once thought of “appearing white”, it was just what I chose to… Read more »

Ogbonz
Ogbonz
7 years ago
Reply to  Gena

I 100% agree with this statement. It shouldn’t even be an issue that some women choose to rock the fro and some choose to straighten. Who is anyone to judge? Who is anyone to place their ideals on another person. I relax my hair because it’s my hair and I’ll do what I damn well please with it, I have no desire to ‘look like a white person’ I just like having relaxed hair simple as! Have confidence in yourself and the way yourself through life and all the beauty you need will shine through whether your rocking a TWA… Read more »

MommieDearest
MommieDearest
7 years ago

Both you and your husband make me smile. You two are the perfect example of how patience, communication and honest self-reflection go a long way to keep a marriage happy and healthy. When we love each other it’s a beautiful thing.

BTW you and your hair are adorable.

maxine
maxine
7 years ago

I think her husband was being honest even if if it did not fit her desires, some men like long, flowy hair and there is nothing wrong with that, God made us all natural but we wear make up to enhance our beauty, just as well some straighten their hair because it’s more manageable and they just like the look, why does it mean that because a women wants to straighten her hair it means she is conforming to the white ideal, many relaxed women do not have that thought in their head, they are proud to be black but… Read more »

Tofunmi
Tofunmi
7 years ago
Reply to  maxine

if a man preferred straight hair to coarse. he should marry a person with naturally straight hair then. not force his ideals on a woman with kinky hair. (btw coarse means thick hair strands, i’m 4b(?) and my hair is fine not coarse). being thin, the gaining weight and whatever issues you mentioned are things pertaining to all ethnicities and races, when you prefer something on a woman that she cannot naturally get, you are being absurd, kind of like telling your wife/girlfriend that you like her face better with make up on, that is insulting and degrading so i… Read more »

maxine
maxine
7 years ago
Reply to  Tofunmi

The point is the author said they were on a natural hair journey which shows she was not natural I presume when he met her,obviously they went on this journey and he came through it and I’m glad they support each other in a choice that benefits them as a couple,my point is that if she was relaxed when she met him,that is what he was attracted to so some could be more understanding to his plight because not all men are attracted to one specific look When I talk about weight,was giving an example to the content of my… Read more »

Ogbonz
Ogbonz
7 years ago
Reply to  Tofunmi

Tofunmi you speak a lot of sense. I like straight hair.….on me…but sometimes I like curls and what not so then I rock a braid-out or a twist out. Whenever I stretch my relaxers I can never take my hands out of my hair because I like feeling the coils coming through and I’m always getting my friends to feel around in my hair and feel the ‘real stuff’! For me my hair is about style and expression, no shackles around my feet because I choose to relax purely for myself and no one else! I equally love the amazing… Read more »

Tee tee
Tee tee
7 years ago
Reply to  Tofunmi

OOoooooooh tofunmi! Omo naija #waves
This excerpt is giving me all kinds of life! Thank you to all of this. Whooooo #fanningself

Jesse
Jesse
7 years ago
Reply to  maxine

But Maxine, although perms where made by a black person, they are for the purpose of submitting to a white standard of beauty. Try to Google old school advertisements for relaxers. Some of them might even be considered insulting by today’s standards. Look at the inventor himself– Garrett Augustus Morgan Senior. What style is he trying to portray with his hair permed liked that? Why did he want is hair to permanently portray this look? It was ALL about taking away the appearance of the kink and coil in natural black hair. You can’t deny that. Now WHY would someone want… Read more »

maxine
maxine
7 years ago
Reply to  Jesse

But I just don’t see it like that because straight hair is not just exclusive to white women,they are born with curly and wavy too,why pick up on the fact that straight hair means conforming to the white ideal,you know why can’t a black women just like straight hair, I know many naturalist that straighten their hair for a few days or who wear weave but because it’s temporary,they get a pass,have always believed that it’s not a half way attitude so if they love being natural,why change..choice,yes then every women should be allowed that As for Augustus,it was an… Read more »

Jesse
Jesse
7 years ago
Reply to  maxine

I was specifically talking about relaxers in my other post. A temporary style is one thing, but I think a permanent, unnatural style, be it a relaxer or extensive use of fake hair, is an indication of someone who doesn’t like their actual hair.

maxine
maxine
7 years ago
Reply to  Jesse

Why just because it’s a temporary style do natural ladies get a pass

Jesse
Jesse
7 years ago
Reply to  maxine

Also, I don’t think it’s a “privilege” to wear the hair that comes out of your head. There are techniques of hair care that are specifically for straight hair, and the same goes for natural hair. If someone has been perming their hair for years, they only know techniques for straight hair. Going natural is a journey to learning the (somewhat lost) techniques for styling natural black hair. Because for generations black people have altered their hair for one reason or another. It just takes patience to understand the techniques that work for kinky, coily hair, rather than straight hair.… Read more »

maxine
maxine
7 years ago
Reply to  Jesse

Clearly my point is that they have the privilege to wear the hair a certain way.

Nappy 4C Rocks
Nappy 4C Rocks
7 years ago
Reply to  maxine

please re-read her article, you are missing the point…this has nothing to do with make-up enhancement or straighten hair to make it more manageable( NATURAL HAIR IS MANAGEABLE btw) nothing is wrong with relaxing hair or going natural…OK to each her own…and re-read the husband article the long flowy hair was NOT the first thing he was attracted to about his wife…lord, people giving me a headache

maxine
maxine
7 years ago
Reply to  Nappy 4C Rocks

It’s an example that I used,just because people have different minds,they use different innuendos that’s why we use different examples
Just because you don’t agree with me,you failed to understand. No problem,thanks for monitoring my comments but we don’t have to think alike

Nnnennaya
7 years ago

Lovely articles (both Corey’s & Chutney’s). As I read them, am glad to say my husband has been a natural hair lover ever since we became good friends. He even requested I made my hair natural during our wedding day. Infact, he campaigns for my natural hair more than me who wears it!

Its very important that ones partner encourages the other to love and embarce themseleves and to help each other understand any change that happens to them no matter what. Glad to read that the Guytons did just that!

Kami
Kami
7 years ago

I showed my dad the previous article written by the husband and his response was quite interesting. He told me he felt the stereotype about black men not liking natural hair wasn’t fully accurate. He with went through ALL of my uncles and male cousins explaining that they never had a problem with natural hair (and to be honest whenever they saw my hair, I receive endless comments). And then preceded to tell me about his black male coworkers, young and old, and also the black men at his church (which is a very large church in the DMV area)… Read more »

Vonnie
Vonnie
7 years ago
Reply to  Kami

Fellow DMV resident! Not to sound stalkerish, but curious to know what church you attend, as I as well attend a rather large one in the DMV area.…

Kami
Kami
7 years ago
Reply to  Vonnie

Hello! And not stalkerish at all. It’s the First Baptist Church of Glenarden out in Greenbelt, MD.

I guess I should add to my original statement, since we are talking about the DMV area, I think location has a lot to do with how black people perceive natural hair also. I’m from the Northeast and have never really been anywhere else, and outside of my family, I have not received any negativity towards my hair from white or black people. I know I am greatly generalizing, but I feel like natural hair is more accepted here than in other places.

jasmine
jasmine
7 years ago
Reply to  Kami

i don’t think the issue is ALWAYS natural hair, but maybe, for some, the idea that they don’t think afro texture hair grows.. So their fear is that if their girl goes natural, she’s gonna be bald headed for the rest of her life…
Its so funny how despite the clear sign that afro hair grows *(cough cough)new growth*(cough)we still fall for the lie.. i’m grateful to GOD for websites that help shine light on the truth! especially in the black community!

Kami
Kami
7 years ago
Reply to  jasmine

I definitely agree with this. I think the general assumption when it comes to natural hair is that people equate it to an afro, which doesn’t really show length. But we all know natural hair can be worn in a myriad of styles, many of which do show length. From my experience, length seems to more important than texture, and I’ve experienced this from both black and white men.

Jessica
Jessica
7 years ago
Reply to  jasmine

I agree as well! My husband is on board this time with my natural hair (this is my second time- and i am sticking with it!!). He loves the texture, BUT he IS anxious for it to grow longer…which i still see as problematic, but “baby steps”

jasmine
jasmine
7 years ago

I loooove this Response!! I’m so glad you shared your point of view- it really allows balance to occur to those who have read your husbands article as well! You are so right in understanding your husbands viewpoint & allowing him to grow & not solely doing it w/o him along for the supportive ride. Alot of black men, men period really, have been coniditioned to what is beautiful according to European standards. Man! a man who is willing to be introspectice about his views in relation to his wife ooh wee! praise GOD for that!! get it girl! and congrats on… Read more »

Tee tee
Tee tee
7 years ago
Reply to  jasmine

Non black men have an excuse, they set the standard and so on. Back in older times of civilisations, to my knowing shaven head was seen as signs of purity + youth. Sure, Africans also wove things into their hair but they similar in texture or a variety for special occasions etc. Shoot there was a book(cannot remember the name now)that showed intricate styles done with threading and so much, it was cool to look at. The black men who don’t like black / african hair is a combination of self loathing and their conditioning being conditioned. I know it is NOT… Read more »

Khanyi
Khanyi
7 years ago

As an African I totally understand the stigma surround natural hair in Black America…This Stigma was probably passed right from the time they came scouting for slaves on the continent…The slaves were made to feel horrible almost inhuman and so they sort of began to believe what their masters believed about themselves that their features were UGLY bla bla including hair!!! so the acceptance of our hair s coming but slowly.…I always say going natural is for the brave hearts…Mr & Mrs GUYTON I totally understand your journey. Its sad that one has to think hard before going to their… Read more »

Beauty84
Beauty84
7 years ago
Reply to  Khanyi

I’m sorry to have to tell you this but you need to find a new church or stop bein religious because that is supposed to be a place of worship, but instead it sounds like hell. I have noticed that a lot of women who go to church are not natural and to me that says a lot about the church. It’s sad that these people are supposed to love The Lord so much but can’t seem to accept the hair he gave them. And I say this because of the movement now, if you can’t go natural now, when… Read more »

Yeaya
Yeaya
7 years ago
Reply to  Beauty84

Yea and God gave us a brain but you obviously threw yours out into the garbage because that’s basically what your comment is.

Tofunmi
Tofunmi
7 years ago
Reply to  Khanyi

Erm. when God said forgive and forget, i don’t think he meant develop amnesia. a pastor should be righteous and be more in tune to God than his congregation…as leaders are supposed to be. Hitting you because of something God gave you, is not being in tune with God and i would advise you to pray to God to find a new place to worship or for God to draw that pastor closer to him. in any case his behaviour wasn’t righteous and i would have run a mile if this was the kind of person i made a leader in things… Read more »

Nicola
Nicola
7 years ago
Reply to  Khanyi

The pastor of your church is more mad than you. The God of heaven that I serve tells us that we must accept each other no matter what in love and unity. For a pastor i am shocked but I guess like many other black men out there he needs to be educated about black women and also God. God gives us free will to do anything we desire and it is not for us to abuse or jump down on someone that choose to be who they want to be. My husband is a pastor and when I started to… Read more »

Lily Madu
Lily Madu
7 years ago
Reply to  Khanyi

That is a ridiculous church led by a ridiculous man. If you continue attending that church you are demeaning yourself.

Mary
Mary
7 years ago
Reply to  Khanyi

Your story about you and your pastor is absolutely ridiculous, but I believe every word of it. My mother, father, aunts and uncles all have the same perception. Some are more outspoken than others. My mother also tries to use the Bible to support her point of view, saying that God did not mean for me to wear natural hair. I don’t know what your situation is like, but if you can remove yourself from the situation you should! Encounters like that crush the spirit.

Nappy 4C Rocks
Nappy 4C Rocks
7 years ago
Reply to  Khanyi

what…the…? what type of church is this?! the pastor GRABBED you in front of the congregation?! you saw rage in his eyes? in church?! NO MA’AM no

Tee tee
Tee tee
7 years ago
Reply to  Khanyi

Find a new church love
Oh shoot a new religion. Threatening you with violence because he is an imbecile on what grows out of his head too?

No idea why natural hair on a black woman provokes such reactions. He is projecting and sorry to say this, he sounds like a dickhead to me.

If he equates natural to madness, and i know of this i am nigerian and used to live there. Then frankly he has some mind cleansing and DECOLONISING to do.

Wow — sending cyber hugs and love!

maxine
maxine
7 years ago

I’m not expecting most opinions to back mine,because the general consensus here will be natural women,I just wanted to give another side to the argument it’s not about jumping on a bandwagon to become natural
Realise that everyone is different and therefore doesn’t have to look like you,I’m natural but I could be relaxed next week,unlike some,I will never be defined by my hair,just as I don’t define myself by color…

Nappy 4C Rocks
Nappy 4C Rocks
7 years ago
Reply to  maxine

*yawn*

maxine
maxine
7 years ago
Reply to  Nappy 4C Rocks

rude.

SantanaNyla
7 years ago

Interesting stories of hair and acceptance-particularly from the article. I’ve worn my hair in locs since the nineties-people always have an opinion to share, but it might just be learning process for everyone.

maxine
maxine
7 years ago

He expressed that he was not attracted to his wife natural hair at first because,it’s obvious as we are talking about hair
Of course it’s not the first that he was attracted too,you would have to ask him that
Natural women and relaxed women have to learn to respect each other opinions and not turn a positive debate into something negative
I’m natural but I don’t intend to stay that way.thanks for responding and a good day to each and everyone but I don’t want this topic to be based around my comments.take care

trackback

[…] his article hit the internet, Mr. Dr. Guyton’s wife Mrs. Dr. Chutney Guyton added her comments to the conversation. She acknowledged that while she’d been thinking about going natural for years, her husband had […]

ace
ace
7 years ago

After reading the author’s article here as well as her husband’s first one, I must say I’m saddened a little as the wife stated she was for the simple fact that this should not be so hard for black women’s male counterparts to understand but yet it is. I’m not as generous a forgiving spirit as others on that note, so I’ll save the long diatribe about why black women need to expand their dating options. I’ve never been put down or made to feel my hair was inferior to a ‘standard’ or ‘certain’ look by a boyfriend/significant other and… Read more »

Dr. Dixon
Dr. Dixon
7 years ago

To the writer: An eloquent response. You are a supportive and loving, beautiful woman. To the commenters: I don’t go to church or believe in the Jesus concept of God. I don’t give a crap what other’s think of me. I don’t see things as “black” or “white” because my mind refuses to accept segregation of any sort. I have natural hair and am married to a man who loves it I am happy totally and completely. My happiness isn’t contingent as to the length of my hair or the status of my texture. It is a journey I choose to embark on without… Read more »

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